2012 NFL Draft: Why Tennessee Titans Need to Go Cornerback in First Round
With offseason departures, a squad full of youth and some great prospects to choose from, the Tennessee Titans will be best fit with their No. 20 overall pick if it's used on a cornerback.
The loss of Cortland Finnegan from the Titans' secondary may have been inevitable, but it still leaves a huge hole in their defense. Finnegan went to a Pro Bowl with the Titans and has been one of the league's most dependable corners since he came into the league in 2006 with just a seventh-round pick.
The Titans have two solid corners on their roster, but they both lack experience and still have some growing to do before they can handle the full load. Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner only have five years of NFL experience combined between them. Although they've both seen considerable playing time, the position isn't deep this year and they could be exhausted from the workload.
This year's incoming class sets up to be a great cornerbacks class. While a stud like Morris Claiborne is seemingly out of reach, the Titans could reach for South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore, a ball-hawking presence who has great body control.
Gilmore could come off the board early after an impressive offseason, but there are still plenty of potential stars to pick from. Alabama's Dre' Kirkpatrick comes from a winning breed, having won two national championships in the last three years. He also is rarely—if ever—beaten on a play and always keeps the ball in front of him.
Tennessee could also look at Janoris Jenkins, the North Alabama star whose off-field issues caused him to transfer from Florida. His NFL potential was on full display during his time with the Gators, and it seems like he's put his attitude problems behind him to be a great NFL player.
The last cornerback I expect to come out in the first round of a solid class is Jayron Hosley. While Hosley may not be the best cornerback available with the Titans pick, he's a solid acquisition should five cornerbacks come off the board in the first round.
I would be giddy if the Titans somehow traded up to get Claiborne, but we can all be real that this organization would almost certainly never make that move. Kirkpatrick is enough of a talent to refuse making a ridiculous offer at a higher draft pick.
It will be hard for the Titans to make their decision, as linebacker and offensive line could also use a young budding star. But if the Titans want to win in 2012, snatching up a cornerback in the first round is the way to go.
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